Measures Welcomed but More Needed

Ireland Active has welcomed a number of the initiatives in last week’s published July stimulus package.

The extension of the wage subsidy scheme, rates exemption extension, improved restart grants, low-cost loans and warehoused tax liabilities were all called for in the representative bodies submission to Government earlier this month.

However, the trade body believes that more will need to be done as part of the National Economic Recovery Plan in order to provide valuable support for the industry, including sector-specific support measures such as tax rebates/vouchers and a VAT rate reduction to keep commercial sports facilities viable into the future.

The sector is estimated to have lost over €150m in revenue due to closures during Covid-19, and many facilities are now operating on less than 50% capacity due to social distancing measures.

“Ours is an industry that employs 12,000 people and contributes €500 million to the economy,” said Ireland Active CEO Conn McCluskey.

“Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on the health and fitness industry in Ireland, and while measures outlined in the July Stimulus provide positive initial steps, additional supports will be needed to ensure the future viability of the sector and to ensure over 1 million people continue to exercise and swim in member facilities nationwide.”

“The fitness sector gets over 1 million people active each week with over 550,000 adults exercising, and 450,000 adults and children swimming each week in leisure facilities across every community in Ireland.”

“The sector is pivotal in keeping people active and healthy in the fight against COVID-19. Ireland Active will continue to work with government to ensure that the sector is recognised and supported for the contribution that it makes to getting more people, more active, more often.”

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